Serbia, Bosnia show unity at first post-war joint session

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic (left) shakes hands with his Bosnian counterpart Denis Zvizdic ahead of talks in Sarajevo, on November 4, 2015 (AFP Photo)
The Bosnian and Serbian premiers held their first joint government session since the 1990s Balkan wars on Wednesday, defying the possibility of new conflict after Germany raised fears of fresh fighting.
"We are sending a message to our citizens that we look into the future together," Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told reporters after the session in Sarajevo.
"I believe that the message of solving problems together, understanding… and opposition to any hate and conflict in this region is a good message for all of our people," he said.
His Bosnian counterpart Denis Zvizdic said the meeting was "a reflection of our mutual efforts to build good neighbourly and regional cooperation".
In remarks published Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that fighting could break out in the Balkans, along the main route of migrants trying to reach Europe, if Germany closed its border with Austria.
"It will lead to a backlash," Merkel was quoted in media reports as saying late Monday in an address to members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union in the western city of Darmstadt.
"I do not want military conflicts to become necessary there again," Merkel said.
But both Vucic and Zvizdic said recent history was a painful reminder of what such an option would mean.
"We have understood Ms Merkel very well and we will make every effort to ensure that this does not happen. I am convinced that something like this will not happen," said Vucic.
The two Balkan countries share an uneasy past, as during Bosnia\’s 1992-1995 conflict that broke out when Yugoslavia fell apart, Belgrade backed Bosnian Serbs against the country\’s Muslims and Croats.
Since the war, which claimed 100,000 lives and left almost half of the pre-war population displaced, Bosnia and Serbia have gradually improved their relations, despite being burdened with unresolved issues such as war crimes.
Later this month Bosnia marks the 20th anniversary of the Dayton Agreement, which brought the conflict to an end.
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